The best camera is the one you've got with you, they say. And for a great many of us, that's the camera in our iPhones. Fortunately, any iPhone released in the past couple of years will have an extremely solid built-in camera, with plenty to offer everyone from everyday snappers to serious iPhoneography enthusiasts.
In this article we offer detailed advice on making the most of the most useful camera features, settings and controls available to today's iPhone photographers.
For even more advice on the features in Apple's latest and upcoming operating systems, read Best iOS tips.
This article incorporates the work of several additional writers: Rob Mead-Green, Chris Phin, Lauren Crabbe, and the Northern Ireland photographer Gerry Coe, the first person to be awarded a fellowship for iPhone art photography by the British Institute of Professional Photography.
Before we start using the iPhone's camera features, we need to actually open the Camera app.
You can do this in a few different ways. You can tap the Camera app icon on the Home screen, or slide up from the bottom of the screen to access the Control Panel and select the Camera app icon there. But the easiest is to simply swipe inwards from the righthand edge of the lock screen. (That's in iOS 10 and later. In iOS 9 it was slightly fiddlier: you had to place your finger on the camera icon on the lock screen and swipe up.)
Once the Camera app is open you'll see a range of controls under the main photo frame: Time-Lapse, Slow-Mo, Video, Photo, Square, and Pano. There are also controls at the top to toggle the flash and HDR modes, set a timer and flip the camera for a selfie. (And if you're on an iPhone 6s or later there's a button to activate or deactivate the Live Photos feature - don't worry, we'll get to that.)
Finally, there's a quick-jump to the Photos app on the left (showing your most recent photo as a thumbnail), although if you haven't unlocked your iPhone only the photos you've taken this time will show up, protecting your privacy should someone else use your iPhone to take a shot. And there's a filter select control at the bottom-right: access these by tapping the greyed-out circles beside the white shutter button.
We'll go through all these camera features in more detail in this article.
Quickly jump to a specific shooting mode with 3D Touch
If you've got an iPhone 6s, 6s Plus, 7 or 8, press hard on the icon for the Camera app on your Home screen and you'll get the option of jumping straight to slo-mo, video, selfie, or regular photo mode. If you've got a 7 Plus, 8 Plus or X, Portrait Mode will be added to this list.
(It's worth reinstating the Camera app back to your first screen of apps if you'd previously banished it because of the Control Centre button for launching it, partly for this direct-mode-launch feature but also because Touch ID is so fast on the 6s and later that you never get the chance to see Control Centre from the Lock screen!)
An interesting extra fact: if there's room for the 3D Touch popup menu to appear above the Camera icon, you get 'Take Photo' at the top, then slo-mo, video and selfie. But if your icon is high up, as is the case in our screenshot, the menu drops down instead and is reversed, with selfie at the top.
We've got a separate article with more advice on How to use 3D Touch.
Using the Timer button
The Timer button can be seen at the top of the screen (or left in landscape). Tap it and you can set a self-timer of 3 or 10 seconds. You'll see the numbers come up on the screen as it counts down. On our iPhone 5s the phone automatically took a burst of 10 photos.
You are most likely to use this feature if you have the facility to set up your iPhone on a platform and step away from it to take a photo without it falling over. We imagine we will see a lot of people propping their phones up on walls and then stepping into shot so take selfies - no more extending your arm out to take photos of yourself. Expect to see lots of third-party manufacturers coming out with tripods for the iPhone.
To take a selfie on a timer, tap the dial, choose the number of seconds and tap the shutter button - then make sure the shot is lined up the way you want before the time runs out!
While we're on the subject of selfies, have you considered buying a selfie stick?
They might look a bit odd, and we can't guarantee you won't get some funny looks from passers by. But they really are useful: the extra distance you can get between your face and the camera lens will make for a far more flattering portrait.
We've got another article with advice on How to use a selfie stick.
Using Time-lapse mode
Apple introduced a slow-mo option in iOS 7 capable of taking movies and slowing parts of them down for hillarious effects. The Time-lapse mode added in iOS 8 is even more appealing, taking photos at what Apple calls "dynamically selected intervals" to create videos.
To take a Time-lapse video, swipe all the way to the right on the Camera app's display, past video and slow-mo. Tap the record button and the app will automatically take a still picture every few seconds.
When you're finished, tap the red button again. The app will stitch all those pictures together to form a time-lapse video.
For the best results, make sure the iOS device is completely still - you may want a stand for it - and leave it recording for a minute or more. You'll find the Time-lapse video in Photos > Albums > Videos.
Read our advice about shooting time-lapse video on the iPhone if you'd like to know more.
How to reduce camera shake
Although things have improved dramatically, the iPhone can still struggle in low light, such as at dusk or indoors. To compensate for the low light it will often take longer exposures, and so if you're not holding your iPhone completely still, the scene will get a bit smeared. (The iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s Plus and later all have optical image stabilisation to help mitigate this.)
One reason you may tend to get blurry photos with your iPhone is that it's light and thin, and hence rather awkward to hold compared to a full-size camera.
You can reduce camera shake with some old-fashioned techniques that literally stop your hands from moving as much: pushing the side of your body against a vertical surface to steady it, resting your elbows on a low wall, or even simply bracing your iPhone by holding it in both hands and tucking your elbows into your body. Take a deep breath and let out a slow, steady exhale as you gently tap the shutter release button.
Or you can use the two-second self-timer. With this, so you're not actually pressing a shutter when you're taking a shot and so shaking the camera with the simple act of doing so, you enable the timer, press the shutter, then in the two seconds before the camera actually takes the shot, brace yourself and hold the iPhone firmly.
Of course, if you really want to get serious about beating camera shake, you may want to consider buying an accessory. Which leads us on to the next section...
Time-lapse shots are particularly helped by the use of a tripod, but a decent iPhone-compatible tripod can prove its worth in almost every area of photography. Camera shake is a constant worry for smartphone photographers, and tripods can be a brilliant way of setting up a stable shot.
Use a hardware shutter
You can use the physical volume buttons on the side of your iPhone to take the shot rather than the big onscreen button - handy if you're holding the phone at an awkward angle - but this also extends to headphones (including the bundled ones) that have inline volume controls on the cable.
Pro photographers would use something like this with big fancy SLRs especially as a way of reducing camera shake; the act of pressing a real or onscreen button can shake the camera at the very instant you want it to be still, so by triggering a shot using a button which is on a cable, usually with the camera held in a tripod, you're removing that shake completely.
You can go one better: there are remote controls that connect over Bluetooth (whisper it: selfie sticks), but if you've got Bluetooth headphones with volume controls already, they should work too as a completely wireless shutter trigger.
Use your Apple Watch as a remote shutter
If you've got an Apple Watch, remember that you can use it to see what your iPhone's camera is seeing - useful in surprising situations, such as when checking the tops of cupboards for lost items or contorting yourself down the back of the TV trying to take a shot of its serial number - and for triggering a shot. The handy Camera app preinstalled on the Apple Watch enables you to use the watch as a remote shutter trigger for your iPhone camera.
Open the Camera app on your Apple Watch and it will automatically open the Camera app on the paired iPhone. Prop up the iPhone in a nice vantage point (perhaps use one of these lovely iPhone camera tripods?) while checking the shot is right on your Apple Watch.
When you're happy, either tap the white circle on the watch screen to take the photo, or hit the '3s' button to set a three-second delay. The latter is useful when you want to take - and be in - a group family photo and not be looking down at your watch at the moment the shutter goes off.
We discuss this method in more depth in a separate article: How to take photos with an Apple Watch.
Take shots in HDR - but keep the original too
Even if you've got a tiny-capacity iPhone, if it's capable of taking HDR shots, turn that feature on (or leave on Auto so the iPhone decides when to use it) but also turn on the option in Settings > Photos & Camera to save the original shot too.
This way you can take advantage of High Dynamic Range photos - which mix together three different exposures of a scene so that you still see detail in very bright and very dark areas - but also have the regular, non-HDR version as well, since HDR shots can look either a bit flat or a bit peculiar. Basically, this way you have options.
HDR melds several exposures to create a single picture with an impressive amount of detail and a broad range of tones and colours. Try using it instead of the flash when you're faced with tricky lighting conditions.
Available on iPhone 7 Plus, 8 Plus and X
Portrait Mode, added in the iOS 10.1 software update, is currently available only for the iPhone 7 Plus and 8 Plus (and imminently on the iPhone X), because it depends on those devices' twin-lens rear cameras.
Portrait Mode applies an arty depth effect to your photos, putting the subject in focus and blurring the background: a sought-after effect known in photographic circles as bokeh.
To access Portrait Mode, swipe across the rotating menu at the bottom of the camera interface - it's just to the right of Photo. Try to make sure the subject is within 2.5 metres and the background is significantly further back; and good lighting is important too.
A quartet of professional photographers canvassed for their thoughts on Portrait Mode by Apple came up with a series of tips, including "cut out the distractions from your subject", "pulling the exposure down just a hair really makes images look more cinematic", "soft, diffused lighting will help with keeping the photo flattering", and "a distance of about eight feet away is recommended".
We look at this feature in far more depth in a separate article: How to use Portrait Mode.
Available on iPhone 8 Plus and X
Portrait Lighting is a set of smart lighting effects that can be applied during or after taking a shot in Portrait Mode on the iPhone 8 Plus or X. It's still officially in beta, and can be a bit inconsistent, but if you known what you're doing you can get some decent, professional-looking results with very little effort.
When you're shooting in Portrait Mode, you'll see a little hexagon at the bottom of the viewfinder display, labelled Natural Light; this is the default, standard effect. But if you tap or swipe this you'll see that there are four more options.
Studio Light is the most reliable, and subtly and realistically brightens up the subject's face and other highlights. Contour Light, on the other hand, adds more shade and may improve the sense of a definition in a shot (or, as pictured, make a person look less grey-bearded) but more commonly makes them look grubby or unshaven.
The final two options cut out the subject (in colour or mono respectively) and put them against a black background. Very occasionally these work well - we've found shots from drunken bar gatherings sometimes benefit - but they are easily the least reliable. The cutout process has great difficulty coping with curly hair, for instance.
One of the reasons pros are able to get such great portrait shots for magazine covers is because some take many dozens or hundreds of shots and just pick the one that captures a fleeting expression or a moment of delight or seriousness. You can do the same with your iPhone using Burst Mode, and it's great for getting the perfect shot of your kid grinning or your dog's guilty look when you discover him tearing up a cushion.
All you do is hold the shutter down (whichever shutter you use) and let the camera just keep shooting. Of course this uses up loads of space on your device, but once you get a quiet moment go to that burst of shots in your Camera Roll and tap Select. Now scrub through all the shots, tap the ones you like then tap Done; you'll be given the choice of saving everything or just the ones you selected, and in the latter case all the other, rubbish shots get deleted.
Panorama, which was introduced to the iPhone in iOS 6 (but didn't come to the iPad until iOS 8, interestingly), is a terrific mode for creating big, artistic shots of grand landscape vistas, or clever trick shots of your office where somebody runs around your back so they appear twice.
Swipe across to the right, past Photo and Square, until you reach Pano. Tap the shutter button and then move your iPhone from left to right across the image you wish to capture while trying to keep the device as steady as possible. (If you prefer you can go from right to left instead. Tap anywhere on the bar in the middle of the screen and it will toggle between left-to-right and right-to-left.)
For conventional panoramas - those in an elongated landscape format - you need to hold the iPhone in portrait orientation. It's possible to take a panorama while holding the device in landscape mode, but you'll have to move it from top to bottom or from bottom to top, and you'll wind up with an elongated portrait shot.
The panorama mode itself offers some advice on how to take a good shot: you need to move the device continuously (don't pause or stutter in your movement) and slowly. Experiment until you get the hang of it.
Focus & exposure
You probably know you can tap somewhere on the screen when you're in the Camera app to tell your iPhone specifically where to focus (even if it has recognised faces in the scene and decided to prioritise them) but this also sets the exposure: that is, how bright or dark the image is.
So for example, if you're photographing someone inside a room with their back to a window, by default the iPhone's automatic exposure will probably turn them into a silhouette (as it tries to balance the bright backlight and the dark subject); but if you tap on them, it knows what you want to prioritise, so it makes the scene brighter. The view out of the window will get 'blown out' - that is, made too bright and so detail will be lost - but at least your subject won't look like they're in a witness protection programme.
Traditional (and now of course digital) photography has a concept called exposure compensation, the idea that you let the camera decide how best to expose the scene, but then you give it a nudge - expressed usually in thirds of a 'stop' - brighter or darker, to better reflect the shot you want to take.
You can do this on an iPhone too, but it's much less technical; tap on your subject, then drag the little brightness (sunburst) symbol next to the focus square up to make the picture brighter, or down to make it darker.
Lock focus & exposure
Usually the iPhone will focus and expose a shot fresh each time, since that is indeed what you usually want, but there are times, usually for creative reasons, that you want to lock the focus and exposure.
To do this, tap and hold on the screen; you'll see a series of contracting rectangles around your finger. This is your cue that the exposure and focus are now locked even if you move the camera a little or to a completely different part of the scene. Tap anywhere on the image to unlock them again.
Live Photos is a neat if slightly gimmicky photo feature that was added to the iPhone's repertoire with the launch of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.
If it's activated, Live Photos captures a few seconds of low-res video just before and just after you snap the shutter for a still photo, so you end up with a cute candid video to go with the image - and most people still don't know much about the feature, which means you often end up capturing them off-guard with an unstaged (or overly staged) performance. It's just fun, really.
Live Photos is turned on and off in the Camera app itself. It's the 'bullseye' type icon in the middle of the top row: three concentric circles. If this icon is yellow, Live Photos is active; if it's white, it's not. Tap the icon to toggle between the two.
To 'activate' the video hidden within a Live Photo from the Photos app, do a force-press if you've got an iPhone with 3D Touch, or do a long press if you haven't. You'll see a few seconds of hopefully entertaining low-res video.
Read more: Live Photos tips
The Rule of Thirds grid
Although shots can look great with their subject dead centre, you can usually make your shots look better, more dynamic and flat-out more professional if instead you embrace the "Rule of Thirds" - and you can easily do this if you switch on the grid in Settings > Photos & Camera.
Now, use those lines as a guide, positioning a horizon along the bottom horizontal line, lining up a standing subject with one of the verticals, or the eyes of a close-up portrait at one of the upper points where the guide lines cross, say.
Capturing a good photo isn't just a matter of knowing the right settings. Compose your photos as the pros do. Use the iPhone's Grid feature (we showed how to turn this on in the previous step) to divide the frame into horizontal thirds, and put your subject on one of those lines, rather than in the middle of the screen.
Be careful to keep the camera level, too; nothing ruins a photo like a tilted horizon. Also, keep an eye on the background to make sure you don't see anything "growing" out of the top of someone's head.
The professional photographer Gerry Coe says that when a photographer uses an iPhone they assume a "totally different outlook" compared to using a DSLR. The iPhone offers a simple lens and sensor and this forces you to think about composition in a different way.
"Unless you attach supplementary lenses," Coe adds, "you have to work with a semi-wide lens and the only zoom or extra wide angle you have is your legs."
With this in mind, the iPhone doesn't sound like a natural tool for a photographer. However, for Coe, despite these limitations when it comes to taking the initial shot, it's the flexibility of iPhone photography that is the real benefit.
He explains: "Really it is the ability to almost instantly transform an image to a vision I may have had on the day and not have to go back and play around with Photoshop. Quite honestly I could not do what I do on the iPhone in Photoshop."
Your iPhone - with the exception of the iPhone 7 Plus, with its twin-lens rear-facing camera - cannot magnify the image by using an optical zoom, the way many compact or professional cameras can. Instead, it uses a digital zoom, which merely makes the pixels big and blocky, obliterating fine detail. Zooming in digitally also makes it even harder to take a steady photo.
Want to fill the frame? Then move closer to your subject. If you really need to zoom in, you can get the same digital effect with an image editor later.
Your phone can handle a lot of situations with aplomb, but it can't shoot every scene you encounter. Your teeny image sensor craves light and does best outdoors in daylight. For the best exposures, keep in mind the advice that photographers have followed for many decades: try to position yourself (the photographer - not the subject) so that the sun is behind you or over one of your shoulders. The sun should be shining into your subject's face, ideally.
Avoid shooting directly into the sun, or you'll radically underexpose your subject. If you're shooting indoors, position your back to the window and turn on the lights.
It may sound counterintuitive, but when you're shooting in daylight, a fill flash can be your secret weapon. It produces a quick burst of light to reduce the shadows that bright sunlight can causes. A fill flash provides pleasant, even lighting on your subject's face to fill most of the shadows.
Of course, the tiny LED flash works only at very close range, so don't expect it to help unless you're within a few feet of your subject.
Flash on the iPhone 8 Plus
If you've got an iPhone 8 Plus, you can take advantage of the new Slow Sync Flash. While it sounds like something only skilled photographers could take advantage of, it's easy to use and it could improve the quality of photos taken with the flash.
Why? Essentially, the iPhone takes a photo at a slower shutter speed while firing the flash quickly. The longer the shutter is open, the more the background is exposed, which makes the photo brighter. And the best part is that the flash is goes off for a shorter amount of time compared to older iPhones, meaning it's not as distracting to those around you.
The result? It provides illumination to the subject of the photo without becoming too harsh. The background of the image is much brighter too, providing an all-round improved image. The best part? The feature is automatic, just turn the flash on!
Since your iPhone's shutter controls are digital, you'll run into software-based shutter lag - the time between when you take the picture and when the sensor actually records the picture. Also note that the onscreen shutter button trips after you lift your finger, not when you press it.
To compensate for this lag, hold the camera steady and count how long your shutter takes. And if you use the touchscreen button, tap it lightly to avoid blurring your photo.
How to scan QR codes
We wish Apple would build QR-scanning capabilities into the iOS Camera app. But it's also easy to scan QR codes if you use the Google Chrome iPhone web browser app.
Swipe right on the Home screen to open up the notification centre, then in the search bar at the top of the screen type QR code. You'll see an option for Scan QR Code next to the Chrome logo. Tap this and the scanner will launch. Now you can read the QR code.
Alternatively, if you're using an iPhone equipped with 3D Touch - an iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus, in other words - you just have to tap and hold the Chrome app icon. A 3D Touch shortcut menu will appear, including an option to Scan QR Code.
If you don't use Google Chrome on your iPhone, it's possible to scan QR codes using Apple Wallet. Open the app, tap the + symbol, and select Scan Code to Add a Pass.
Read more: How to scan QR codes on iPhone
Creating large canvases
Gerry Coe says that traditionally, "if you wanted high-quality, big files then you needed a big camera with lots of megapixels, but I have produced 6ft-wide canvas Panorama images from my iPhone.
"The file sizes are a lot bigger [than with earlier iPhone models], and therefore less enlargement is needed to get big four-foot canvases."
That Coe is able to get four-foot canvases from 8-megapixel images demonstrates the fact that while Apple offers fewer megapixels on the iPhone than many smartphone manufacturers offer, it's quite sufficient - and more megapixels only serve to make even bigger files. Read more about the megapixel myth here.
Experiment with filters & effects
After you snap your photo, you can use the Photos app, iPhoto, and third-party apps to make tweaks. You can wield most of these controls as if you were adding spices to a soup: Experiment and apply them "to taste". The saturation controls, for example, adjust the intensity of colours. It's usually best to stick with low or medium levels, since high levels tend to make everyone look like an overcooked turkey. Effects such as negative, sepia, and black-and-white can also help you take charming photos.
One of the biggest benefits of carrying an iPhone is that you can install scores of apps. Check out the iTunes App Store to find programs that improve the way the camera works, as well as image-editing apps that let you enhance your photos after the fact.
Best photo apps for pros
The photographer Gerry Coe says that if you want to experiment, there are lots of very good camera apps that can be downloaded from the App Store. Here are his recommendations:
Snapseed: "My favourite go-to app for basic adjustments and colour balance."
ScratchCam, Pic Grunger, DistressedFX: "For textures."
Read next: Best photography apps for iPhone & iPad
Managing photos (part I)
iOS's Photos app comprises three main options: Photos, Shared (if you have Shared Photo Streams turned on) and Albums. All three options are available from the bottom of the screen. We explain each option below.
Shared simply shows you any photos you've shared with friends and family using iCloud (we'll look at this in more detail below. You will also see other people's Photo Streams that you subscribe to here (see below for details of how to set up Photo Streams).
Albums is the digital equivalent of the old-fashioned photo album. Your Camera Roll album is joined by My Photo Stream - your photo stream (if you have it turned on). You can also see all the Panoramas you have taken. Videos you have filmed with your iPad or iPhone. And any Albums you have created yourself (we'll explain how to do this below).
Photos is simply where every single picture on your iPhone is stored. These can include pictures from your Camera Roll and those you've imported from elsewhere (from your Mac for example), and any that are in your Photo Stream.
Managing photos (part II)
If you tap Photos you will see that to make it easier to navigate your photos, the Photos app organises your snaps by Years, Collections and Moments.
Moments It's likely that when you first tap on Photos you will see your recent shots, grouped in what Apple referrs to as Moments. Moments shows you the photos you took at a specific time. For example, on a trip to the seaside for a day out with the family. Any photos you take at that location, at that time will automatically be grouped into a Moment so you can find them and share them easily later on. (If this isn't the first view you see, just tap anywhere on the screen to 'zoom in' to that Collection.)
Collections If you want to look back further then tap on < Collections (top right), and you can see Collections of photos you have taken, usually grouped by location and date. For example, our iPhone is clever enough to keep photos taken in Switzerland separte from those taken in London and Surrey.
Years Similarly, tap < Years to view your photos by year. This is probably the fastest way to find your photos from Christmas 2011. Just tap at the end of 2011 to be taken to the photos from that time.
The great thing about the Photos app is it shows all your photos, not just those taken with the iPhone or iPad camera. So if you have shared images from your Mac to your iPhone, or from your iPad to your iPhone you can see them all in these different views.
How to find your photos on the iPad or iPhone
Where's the Camera Roll? It's vanished.
Since the launch of iOS 8 photos are stored slightly differently. Previously, every photo taken with your iPhone or iPad could be found in the Camera Roll folder. Not any more. This caused some new users to think that all their photos had been deleted during the installation, but they are still there: you can find them in Collections.
Tap Photos and view Collections by Months and Years, and by Moments, which sorts your photo by location and event. This actually makes finding older shots a lot easier than scrolling through years worth of photos. It will mean that all your photos, taken on all of your devices, are mixed up together.
One reason for the confusion is probably that when you try to share a photo to Facebook or similar the album that the phone shows by default used to be Camera Roll and now is Recently Added (although Facebook still labels it as Camera Roll). This shows you the photos you have taken with the iPhone camera over the past 30 days. It's no wonder people thought their photos had been deleted. If you want to share a photo on Facebook that is more than 30 days old you need to add that photo to an album, and the tap on Camera Roll and select the image from that album. More on this below…
The removal of Camera Roll also makes it difficult to tell which of your images are stored in the cloud. Basically everything is stored in one big folder - which in the light of the iCloud celebrity photo leak isn't ideal. Read next: How to keep your iPhone photos safe.
The smart search feature is helpful when looking for photos. Tap on the magnifying glass icon and the search field will prompt you categories of images taken Nearby, Favorites, Home and in a location you have recently visited.
You can search all of your photos by date, time, location or album name.
You can search for the photos you took in May by typing May in the search field, for example. Type the name of a location where you took photos and you should see the images you took at that location. These search criteria remain in recent searches.
How to favourite photos on your iPhone
This is another way to make sure you can always find the photos you like the best. Under every photo in your library there is a heart icon. Tap that icon to fill it in. This will add it to your Favourites album.
Hide images on your iPhone or iPad
In iOS 8 and later you can hide images you don't want others to see from Moments, Collections and Years (although they will still appear in albums). To hide an image, tap and hold on its thumbnail, then tap Hide.
To recover the photo you need to visit the Hidden album and tap and hold the thumbnail to unhide it.
This is slightly confusing as if you tap on an image in Recently Added and select Hide it doesn't disappear from that view. However if you're in Moments it will disappear from view when you select Hide.
Basically, if you don't want someone to see an image make sure you switch to Photos from Albums first.
Creating a photo album on iPhone or iPad
If you've taken a lot of photos at an event you may wish to put the best ones in an album. If you wish to set up an Album start by opening your Camera Roll, then tap Select, tap the images you wish to put in the album, and tap Add To. At this point you can either add the photos to an existing album or scroll to the bottom of the list to choose New Album. Now enter a name for the album, and save.
Setting up Photo Stream on iPhone or iPad
One of the key features of Apple's iCloud is Photo Stream. This enables your iPhone to automatically upload the last 1,000 photos or videos you've taken and automatically share them with all your other Apple devices.
To switch Photo Stream on if you haven't already head to Settings > iCloud > Photos and swipe the My Photo Stream slider from left to right to activate it.
While you're here, you could switch Photo Sharing on too. This enables you to share your own photos with other people, and you can also subscribe to other people's photo streams here too. My Photo Stream only works on Wi-Fi, syncing the photos you have taken as soon as the iPhone joins a Wi-Fi network, but the My Photo Streams feature also updates over 3G. For this reason we warn against this latter option as it can get a bit data-hungry, read more about how not to run out of data on an iPhone here.
How to share your iPhone photos with others
There are plenty of other easy ways to share the photos you take on your iPad or iPhone with friends and family. For example, you can share the photos of a day out at the seaside with the family who went there with you.
To share a Moment like that, open the Photos app, select Photos, and then drill down to the Moments option. Scroll up or down to the find the Moment you want then click on the Share option to the right.
The Sharing window will now glide into view giving you two choices: 'Share this moment' which enables you to share all of the photos in that Moment; or 'Share some photos', which enables to choose the photos from that Moment you would like to share.
If you choose 'Share this moment' another windows glides into view giving you the option share your Moment via AirDrop or iCloud (as long as you don't have too many photos selected, and as long as you have Photo Sharing turned on in Settings).
You can also choose to copy the Moment - handy if you want to paste a selection of photos into an email, or you can choose to print the selected pictures contained in that Moment via AirPrint.
If you choose 'Share some photos', a different windows glides into view, which shows all of the photos in that Moment. To choose some photos that you would like to share, simply tap each one once so a blue circle with a tick inside it appears.
Once you've made your selection, tap Share and the Sharing menu you saw in 'Share this moment' will appear again.
This time as well as AirDrop, iCloud, Copy and Print options, you'll also have the chance to share your pictures with other services including Messages, Mail, Facebook and Flickr. Simply choose the option you want and share, share away.
How to create an album so you can add images to Facebook
If you wish to add images to Facebook, currently the best way may be to grab those photos from an album because at the moment Facebook is only showing the past 30 days photos and any existing albums you have set up - it is showing the Recently Added album in place of the Camera Roll.
Given the above situation, you may wish to create albums for your image to make it easier to find them when using apps like Facebook.
If you've taken a collection of photos and wish to share the best ones on Facebook - or if you just want to create an album to make them easy to find, or so you can share them with a friend using Photo Stream - find the images in Recently Added if they were taken in the past 30 days (or in the Photos section if they were taken longer ago).
Tap Select and pick the photos you wish to keep. At this point we usually find it frustrating that we only see a square thumbnail of the shot because it is hard to see the detail and determine how good the photo is. We tend to flick through, opening images, noting which image it was as it closes, and then tapping Select and ticking that image.
When an image or images are selected tap Add To and select the Album you wish to add to, or scroll to the bottom and hit New Album to create a new album. Now when you try and share the images on Facebook all you need to do is select the relevant album.
How to import photos from your Mac to your iPhone
Most of us have photo collections that go way beyond what we take on our iPhones, but that doesn't mean they're entirely lost to your iPhone either.
Luckily it's a breeze to add any of the photos stored on your Mac to your iPhone. To do so, simply follow the steps below.
Connect your iPhone to your and Mac and open iTunes, select it from the Devices list and then choose the Photos option from the menu bar.
Make sure the Select Photos from... option is ticked and then choose where you want to import your photos from. You can choose either an existing Aperture or iPhoto library or choose images from your Mac's Pictures folder or any other folder you wish.
If you choose to you use Aperture or iPhoto, you'll be given the option to sync all your photos, albums, Events and Faces or choose selected albums events and Faces. You also have the option to include any videos you have stored in Aperture or iPhoto, if you wish.
Once you've decided which photos, albums and Events you'd like to import, select Apply and then go and make a cup of tea while your photos are synced with your iPhone. That's it: you're done.
How to select all the photos on your Phone
As we have shown it's easy to select some of the photos on your iPhone but what if you want to select all the photos on your iPhone? Unfortunately there is no way to select them all in one go, but you can select photos by Moment.
Go to the moments view, then tap Select in the top right corner of each moment. You will need to go through all your Moments, tapping on the Select button for each one as you go. It's slightly frustrating that you can't select whole Collections or Years this way.
Once you've selected the images you'll now be able to do one of three things:
Share photos: Use the Action button (the square icon on the bottom left of the screen with the arrow coming out of it) to share the photos you’ve selected using AirDrop, iCloud or to Copy or Print them
Add to an album: Use the Add To button to add the photos you've selected to a new or existing album.
Delete: You can delete any photos taken on your iPhone or shared via Photo Stream by tapping the Trash icon on the bottom right of the Photos menu. However this method won't work on photo collections you've synced to your iPhone from your Mac using iTunes.
The best way to delete them is to head back to iTunes and then deselect any Album and Event you've previously synchronised and then select Apply. To delete all the photos you've shared from your Mac using iTunes, uncheck the Sync Photos from... checkbox under the devices Menu.
How to delete (and undelete) photos
The act of 'deleting' a photo no longer deletes a photo - not properly. Instead, the photo moves to the Recently Deleted folder where it remains for 30 days unless you go to the folder and delete it from there.
To delete a photo open the photo and tap the waste paper basket. Choose Delete Photo.
Then go to Albums > Recently Deleted to locate the 'deleted' photo. Annoyingly it's not the most recent photo that shows up as the icon here, but the least recent. Open the album and tap on the image to get the options to Delete or Recover. If you choose to delete from here the image is gone. If you don't delete it but leave it in this folder it will disappear in 30 days time. You can also delete (or recover) all the images or a large number of images in one go by tapping Select > Delete All or Recover All or by tapping each image you wish to keep or delete. There is also a Delete All option.
Since we have a 16GB iPhone we frequently delete images to make space so this is an annoying extra step when we are trying to delete photos. While it might be useful to keep images available just in case you deleted them by accident, it used to be the case that those images remained in our Photo Stream even if we deleted them from Camera roll.
If you delete an image from your device it's not immediately removed. You have 30 days in which to change your mind. If you then decide you were wrong to delete it, go to the Recently Deleted folder, open the image and select Recover. You can also recover a group of photos. Tap Select, then select the images you wish to recover and tap Recover.
If you really want to delete the image, find it in the Recently Deleted folder, open the image and select Delete. You can also delete a group of photos this way. Tap Select, then select the images you wish to recover and tap Delete.
View your photos on a map
From Photos > Collections tap on the name of a location above a group of photos to see those photos on a map. If you dial back to the years view you can tap on the location for that year, and see groups of photos you have taken at the location you took them in.
This is great if you wanted to remember where it was you enjoyed that fantastic Sunday lunch or the beautiful gardens you visited one weekend.
How to use the editing tools in Photos
iOS's editing tools make it easy to be creative with your photos. Apple also allows the use of third-party filters and effects without having to open and close apps.
You can crop, straighten, remove red eye, adjust lighting and contrast and more. Just open Photos and select the image you wish to edit. Now tap Edit > and pick the crop, filter, or saturation tool.
For related advice, see Best ways to back up photographs.
How to crop a photo on the iPhone or iPad
Choose your image. Tap Edit. Now tap the square Crop icon. The interface here is a little different to iOS 7; you need to tap the icon on the right that looks like different shaped boxes. Now you can pick the constraints of your crop. Tap Done when you are happy.
How to straighten an image on the iPhone or iPad
Do you have a photo that needs straightening up? This is often the case when you photograph water and then find it looks like the water is going to run out of the image because it's on a slant.
iOS makes this edit easy. Tap the Crop icon and you will see a new dial appears below the image. Turn this dial until the lines that it draws over your image look in line with the horizon.
How to add more colour to a photo on the iPad or iPhone
To change the colour saturation of an image, tap the dial icon and pick Color. You can drag the slide up (or to the right depending on the orientation of your device) to add more colour to the image.
You can do even more here. Tap the three lines and you can see what the Saturation, Contrast and Cast levels are. To increase contrast, tap Contrast, then move that slide until you are happy. We were able to get a nice blue sky this way.
Finally we looked at Cast and moved the slider until we were happy with the white of the clouds in our image.
Adjust the brightness of a photo taken on your iPad or iPhone
You can also adjust the Light levels. Options include Exposure, Highlights, Shadows, Brightness, Contrast and Black Point.
Find the image you wish to edit. Tap Edit. Select the dial icon and pick Light. You could drag the slide up for a more ethereal feel to your image. Tap the three line icon to access the additional settings. Turn down Exposure to see more of the sky. Drag down Highlights to see more sky. Pull up Shadows to see more of what's in the shade. Pull up Black Point to get deeper blacks.
Choosing a filter for an image on your iPhone
You don't have to use all these sliders to get the perfect image. A number of preset filters are available, and have been since iOS 7. Find your image and select Edit. Tap the three circles at the bottom of the screen. Select the filter you like from: Mono, Tonal, Noir, Fade, Chrome, Process, Transfer, Instant.
You can also add filters to the photo when taking it. Tap on the three circles in the bottom-right corner when you open the Camera app.
Undo photo edits on the iPhone or iPad
Find the image. Tap Edit, then tap Revert to revert the image back to the original. You can do this at anytime as they are nondestructive edits. If you wanted to keep the before and after image you could screen grab the edited image before reverting to original.